04 March 2019
International Women's Day 2019 is fast approaching, and the ACT Education Directorate is exploring this year’s campaign theme ‘Balance for Better’.
The International Women’s Day website spells out the importance of gender balance.
“Balance is not a women's issue, it's a business issue. The race is on for the gender-balanced boardroom, a gender-balanced government, gender-balanced media coverage, a gender-balance of employees, more gender-balance in wealth, gender-balanced sports coverage… gender balance is essential for economies and communities to thrive.”
With gender balance in mind, the Directorate is hosting an event for Year 9 -12 focused on balance and equity within their school communities. Students will hear from a range of keynote speakers, join in focus group activities and contribute to a panel discussion around issues raised throughout the day.
We spoke to the four panellists in advance about what this day means to them.
Sarah Mason, Manager of Digital Engagement for the Museum of Australian Democracy, has interests across the film, literature and business sectors, having seen great success across a range of industries.
“International Women’s Day is an opportunity to consciously and deeply consider the manner in which women are relating to the world,” said Sarah.
“It’s a day to be grateful for the ways women make powerful and positive change, and it’s a time for recognition of those areas where there is much still to change. The day calls for a collective energy to address these challenges on an ongoing basis and it’s exciting to be part of that.”
Chiara Grassia plays a leading role across multiple projects as an arts producer, writer and musician. She is the founder and director of Girls Rock! Canberra (GR!C), a mentorship program for girls, trans and gender non-conforming young people which encourages self-confidence, creativity and teamwork through music.
In 2017 Chiara was selected to participate in the Foundation of Young Australian’s Young Social Pioneers program and was named one of Rolling Stone magazines Women of the Future.
“I’m surrounded by so many amazing women and femmes in my life, that every day is International Women’s Day for me,” said Chiara.
Clare Hedley, of Canberra-based production company Wildbear Entertainment, said that International Women’s Day is all about celebration and collaboration.
“International Women’s Day is a chance to celebrate our achievements and progress as women, while acknowledging that there is still a gap to close and this can only be done by everyone (women and men) working together.”
Sian Keys has a background in STEM programs and engagement, with a focus on encouraging young women into STEM careers and increasing accessibility in STEM education and engagement programs. Sian was a 2017 finalist for ACT Young Australian of the Year and won the ACT Chief Minister’s Inclusion Award for Volunteer Support.
“For me, International Women’s Day is about providing positive role models – because you can’t be what you can’t see.”
Role models, teachers, parents, caregivers can use International Women's Day as an important opportunity to educate and inspire children about the role of women in society.
We look forward to hearing more from the students involved in the event about gender balance and what International Women’s Day means to them.